Reviews by Andres S

Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia Content Pack
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New content for Greece during the rise of Rome

I find this type of DLCs the best one. As in other Paradox games (HoI4 and Stellaris), this DLC is plenty optional. It gives more content to three greek powers (Athenas, Sparta and Syracuse): a full set of missions, their own pantheon and some cosmetics (their own models for units and ships as well as new musical themes).

It also adds a little feature which digs deeper in the main theme of the free patch (religion), as apotheosis (the deification of former rulers).

So... Magna Graecia follows a good model for DLCs, and its particular content is good enough to give Imperator Rome another try.

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 5th 2020
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Stellaris: Federations
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A weak expansion for Stellaris

Stellaris is a great game already. So expansions should make game features evolve, not just add clunky additions.

Federations is not the "diplomacy rework" I was expecting. New federation types are fine, but Stellaris lacks the "granularity" where this feature would really be useful (galaxies are too small... or empires too big to make the diplomatic game plenty meaningful).

But what is not working at all is Galaxy Community (sort of a "galactic senate" á la Star Wars). Too generic laws, unexisting internal dynamics... You barely pay attention to it.

What I've found better is the "origins" feature (your empire background).

My conclusion: as far as developers are still tweaking and balancing this patch and expansion I wish some of the features will improve. Meanwhile... I don't think Federations is good enough.

My personal ranking for Stellaris DLCs (expansions and story packs):

Good:
1. Utopia
2. Megacorp
3. Ancient Ruins

Interesting:
4. Leviathans
5. Synthetic Dawn

Mediocre:
6. Distant Stars
7. Federations
8. Apocalypse

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 1st 2020
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Hearts of Iron IV - La Résistance
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Don't resist to the best expansion for HoI4 (so far)!

HoI4's expansions follow a good design to make evolve a game as, though not compulsory to enjoy the base game, most of them improve it significantly, both in more content and deeper features. "La Résistance" is not an exception but maybe the best model of this design.

In content, I think "La Résistance" is the best addition to the series. Spanish and French new national focus trees are really good (lot of options), and the Spanish Civil War has become sort of a new game itself.

About features, the star in "La Résistance" is spionage, and this DLC really delivers. Intelligence is now a factor to take account in your military planning, and your agents and operations in enemy territory really gives a new dimension to the game.

In my personal ranking, "La Résistance" is on top. This is my current evaluation:

1. La Résistance
2. Man the Guns
3. Death or Dishonor
4. Waking the Tiger
5. Together for Victory

by Andres S, Spain - Mar 15th 2020
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Europa Universalis IV: Dharma Content Pack
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The standard content pack for EU4

No more, no less: some nice graphics to help you immerse into the lands of India, as well as good music —three new tracks, about 12 minutes in total—. Completely optional.

by Andres S, Spain - Feb 12th 2020
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Imperator: Rome
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Improving after an underwhelming release

UPDATED:

After two patches the game is way better now than in its original release. The main improvements have taken place in population management (it's more related to game evolution, feeling more organic) and "mana", which has been replaced into interactions among game features.

Naval warfare has now some interest, and your military specialization depends more on what you're doing with your armies (combat historial, drilling...) rather than spending mana now and then.

It's the "less good" grand strategy game among Paradox's, and it still lacks personality (it features look mere trasnposition from EU4, Stellaris and CK2 yet), but... it's a good game itself, and the studio seems committed to improve it dramatically. You may give it a chance.

_____________

Paradox has a name in strategy that Imperator: Rome is not up to.

I:R looks more an Europa Universalis 4 mod rather than a brand new game. The gameplay is just dull: all relevant features are better in other Paradox games. You have to deal with characters but they're far from the complexity of Crusader Kings 2. Your have some empire building to do but diplomacy or internal politics are well below from EU4.

Every Paradox game has its own core: character and dinastic relationships in CK2, regional and world projection in EU4, industrial warfare in Hearts of Iron 4, exploration and empire-building in Stellaris... Imperator: Rome is just not there. We'll see if the game is changed in further developments, as Paradox is used to do.

by Andres S, Spain - Jun 21st 2019
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Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack
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Improving Stellaris Mid-game... and lore.

Ancient Relics is a small expansion for Stellaris, but I find it more interesting than the last one of these "story packs" (Distant Stars).

From the beginning Stellaris has brought us some misteries (fallen empires, extinct precursors in space exploration, supernatural crisis...) and Anticent Relics develops what happened to those precursors. This DLC introduces a few more precursors as well as a new feature that reworks space exploration: archeology.

The interesting thing about Ancient Relics is that eXploration, which is the first phase in every 4X game, gets a new life in the mid and mid-late game, as you can only explore the most complex archeological sites when you have proper reasearchers, and the outcomes of this activity (minor artifacts and relics) can have an effect during all the game.

In conclusion, a recommended DLC for giving new life to the best current space 4X game.

by Andres S, Spain - Jun 21st 2019
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Hearts of Iron IV: Man the Guns
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It's a good HoI4 DLC... a very good one indeed

Man the Guns brings some features already developed for land combat to the sea. We've got new skills for admirals, and a whole new design system for ships and fleets.

HoI4 DLCs usually give us new content for countries. UK and USA new alternate history paths are good enough. Opting for Mexico or the Netherlands (instead of countries like Spain or Turkey) may seem not so urgent but they're fine.

Man the Guns improves HoI4 overall, and it gives you some new ways to play the USA or UK. Highly recommended.

by Andres S, Spain - May 5th 2019
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Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
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This is not the Iberian Immersion Pack you were looking for

If you expect Golden Century to revamp the Iberian countries as Rule Britannia or Third Rome did with the British or Russian countries, you'll be disappointed. There's new content for those countries (new trees of missions, a few new features like "religious orders", and several events) but you won't have the feeling you're running a "special" country as you have with the ones visited in former expansions like the mentioned or Rights of Man (Prussia), Cradle of Civilization (Middle-Easter muslim countries), Mandate of Heaven (East Asia) or Dharma (Indian subcontinent).

That said, there's a few other features in the game (pirate republics, flagships...), but more "flavourish" than effective.

Golden Century is not "bad", but mediocre. Looking forward to a change of course in EU4.

by Andres S, Spain - Dec 16th 2018
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Stellaris: MegaCorp
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That's what an expansion should be

Sometimes expansions are recommended because the game is no longer "playable" without them. Sometimes it is because they enhace what the base game offers itselft. MegaCorp is one of the latter. You'll have the chance to play Stellaris in a (very) different way -like giant corporations capable of controlling interstellar trade- and interact with other empires and subjects as no one could do.

The finest expansion so far for one of the most interesting strategy/4X games out there.

by Andres S, Spain - Dec 8th 2018
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Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
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Whole new life for CKII

CKII is a very special game in strategy... it's not very common a dynastic intrigues simulator.

This expansion adds bloodlines, deeper Crusades, more ways to interact with your neighbours and means to trascend your mortal life and have an impact in everyone's life with sainthood.

Very recommendable.

by Andres S, Spain - Nov 25th 2018
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Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
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One of the best EU4 expansions

EU4 has been trying in its last DLCs to make the whole XV-XVIII centuries world an interesting place to play. This one is committed to bring life to the Indian subcontinent... and Dharma delivers.

But its main focus is more ambitious and general: making governments a more interesting and meaningful feature in EU4, which is now organized not in several "types" which changes at some cost but in a more organic way, with different steps you'll have to decide how your government will be organized as. Other additions include changes in trade (both centers of trade and trade companies), policies, etc.

In conclusion: highly satisfactory, strongly recommended.

by Andres S, Spain - Sep 21st 2018
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Stellaris: Distant Stars Story Pack
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Weakest Stellaris Story Pack, still interesting

Distant Stars is a story pack (mini-expansion) for Stellaris which adds to the exploration pahse (new events, anomalies...) as well as it brings new middle-game situations (Leviathans and a new sort of crisis/oportunity). The content is interesting but not as much as Leviathans or Synthetic Dawn (which is the best story pack so far).

Distant Stars also includes new music which is as good as usual.

by Andres S, Spain - May 29th 2018
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Crusader Kings II: The Reaper's Due Content Pack
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More good looking graphics for CKII

This is a cosmetic DLC, it changes nothing related to gameplay. It adds new units for in-map advisors in Africa and Eastern Europe. It also adds some new portraits, which are the most importan cosmetic feature in CKII, in my opinion. This time for characters in Eastern Africa.

by Andres S, Spain - May 2nd 2018
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Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
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Good, though not mandatory

Among EU4's DLCs you'll find big expansions -changing general features- and "immersion packs", more suited to a country or small region. Rule Britannia is one of the latter.

As its name announces, there's a lot of content to the British Isles and their countries (especially England-United Kingdom). They get new missions, events, graphics... and Anglicanism is now a religion itself. In this way is similar to Third Rome (the "Russian" EU4's DLC).

But, unlike Third Rome, Rule Britannia also includes some universal features which make it more interesting. You don't need them but they're fun to play: innovativeness rewards going ahead in research; naval doctrines are a good addition to give more possibilities to your Armada; the IndustriaL Revolution broadens the late game.

In conclusion: a good addition to EU4, not just for those willing to play as England.

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 13th 2018
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Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger
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HoI4's Great Leap Forward

Waking the Tiger is the best expansion for HoI4 (so far), and in a similar way like others (Stellaris' Utopia) it basically deepens the new features added in the free patch. Esencially, more decisions and commanders management (more options for traits and special actions). It also includes new national focuses for Chinese actors and Japan (which improve dramatically a WWII theatre which was not working well in former iterations, like Sino-Japanese war). It also includes some alternative history options for Germany, which are fun to play. In conclusion, Waking the Tiger is a great leap forward -pun intentended ;)- for Hearts of Iron 4.

by Andres S, Spain - Mar 15th 2018
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Stellaris: Apocalypse
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Stellaris 2.0

First thing to say about Apocalypse is that it's an optional expansion. The most important changes and improvements that Stellaris has received are for free (included in 2.0 patch). This expansion improves mid and late game, allowing you the use of massive destruction weapons (hello, Death Star) and an ultimate class of spaceships (Titans). And it adds an interesting new actor to the game (Marauders) that plays like Hordes you can interact with (bribing them to avoid their razings, or directing them against your rivals). So... not essential but quite interesting.

by Andres S, Spain - Mar 7th 2018
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Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
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A situational expansion for CKII

It's not a bad adittion to CKII but like some others only useful playing certain characters. Or, like this time, a certain location: the "far" East of the map. You've got now a powerful neighbour (Chinese Emperor), with its own agenda -more expansionist or isolationist- which, in addition to its internal/external status, will decide how you can interact with China and more importantly... How China will interact with you! (Invasions won't be easy to defeat).

Not as good as some of the last CKII expansions, fine if you want to try something different, specially in addition to other ones like Horse Lords.

by Andres S, Spain - Feb 15th 2018
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Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
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A sub-par EU4 expansion

According to its general features, Cradle of Civilization is one of the weakest EU4 expansions but it improves greatly the gameplay as a muslim country.

Regarding its general features, army professionalism, though interesting, it's not as decisive as it seemed when presented; I don't think it'll make a standing army better than the extensive use of mercenaries (which I suppose it was one of the objectives). I find better the trade policies included, which boost the role of your merchants helping your spionage, your military, etc. I like also the "exploit development" feature, which allows you to save a manpower or money crisis impoverishing one of your provinces.

When Cradle of Civilization shines is when you're playing in Middle-East and/or as a muslim country. Lot of content and great government changes, specially in Ottomans, Mamluks and Timurids.

by Andres S, Spain - Dec 4th 2017
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Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn Story Pack
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How to make cool building a robotic empire in Stellaris

Synthetic Dawn is what you could expect from a Stellaris DLC. It's all about robots: they're now a playable species with their own features (quite distinctive), new event chains about them added and new graphics and music included. Not a revolutionary expansion but quite interesting if you want a new approach to Stellaris.

by Andres S, Spain - Oct 30th 2017
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